Results tagged ‘ San Francisco Giants ’

Highlights: 8.13.13

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8.13.13 – Nationals 4, Giants 2

Stat of the Game: Adam LaRoche‘s two-run shot in the sixth broke a 1-1 tie and helped the Nationals to their fourth straight victory.

Under-the-Radar Performance: Tanner Roark earned his second win in four days, allowing one unearned run over two innings of relief.

It Was Over When: Kurt Suzuki‘s eighth-inning sacrifice fly scored Jayson Werth with an insurance run to provide the final margin.

What to Watch for: 8.13.13

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San Francisco Giants (52-65) vs. Washington Nationals (57-60)

LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-7, 2.75) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-3, 3.52)

The Nationals host the defending World Champions for the opening tilt of a three-game set. Washington swept San Francisco at home last season, going 5-1 overall in the season series. In honor of International Left-hander’s Day, tonight’s pitching matchup includes Major League Baseball’s two winningest southpaws over the last two seasons: Gio Gonzalez (28 wins in ‘12-13) and Madison Bumgarner (27).

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Denard Span CF

2. Anthony Rendon 2B

3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B

4. Jayson Werth RF

5. Ian Desmond SS

6. Adam LaRoche 1B

7. Wilson Ramos C

8. Scott Hairston LF

9. Gio Gonzalez LHP

99 PITCHES, NO PROBLEM

Stephen Strasburg tossed the first shutout of his career in Washington’s 6-0 home win on Sunday vs. Philadelphia, becoming the first Nationals pitcher to post a shutout at the Phillies expense. Strasburg (99 pitches) became just the fourth National to toss a shutout in less than 100 pitches (also: Jordan Zimmermann, Jason Marquis, Pedro Astacio).

START ME UP

Steve McCatty’s starting staff is 4-1 with a 2.51 ERA (16 ER/57.1 IP) in nine August contests to date. In those nine games, the starting staff has yielded just one homer while posting a stingy .218 batting average against and an admirable strikeout to walk rate of 3.73.

THE POWER OF 3 (AND 5)

When scoring three or more runs this year, the Nationals are 51-14 (.785). Additionally, when the Nationals tally five or more runs, they are a robust 41-4. Conversely, when plating two or fewer runs, Washington is just 6-46 (.115).

Happy Flight Home

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Winning on the road in extra innings is one of the hardest things to do in baseball. In fact, one could argue that it’s the toughest overtime scenario in any major sport. Even reaching that point means you’ve already survived a sudden death situation in the bottom of the ninth, and no matter what kind of rally you put together, your opponent will always have the chance to counter. It is perhaps the biggest factor in baseball’s home field advantage, one that extends far beyond the simple comforts of playing in familiar surroundings, in front of the hometown crowd.

But that’s exactly what the Nationals did on Wednesday, scratching out a 10th-inning run to wrestle a 2-1 victory away from the Giants in front of a raucous San Francisco crowd. Bryce Harper made a pair of crucial catches, Adam LaRoche reminded everyone that he’s still a wizard at first base, and Ian Desmond stepped in following an intentional walk to Ryan Zimmerman to deliver the game-winning hit.

“It’s gonna be a good flight back home,” said Gio Gonzalez, who silenced the Giants offense into the eighth inning, but came away with a no decision. “Today was a great example of how they battled, and we fought all the way to the end.”

Harper led a team effort in a gutty win Wednesday.

Harper led a team effort in a gutty win Wednesday.

Athletes will often say that after things go poorly for them, the first thing they want to do is get back to the same situation in which failed in order to have another chance to succeed. For Harper, that meant a chance to track down Hunter Pence’s ball on the warning track in the sixth inning Wednesday, in an eerily similar spot to the ball he couldn’t corral in the ninth inning Tuesday night, leading to the game-tying run. For Rafael Soriano, it meant another one-run lead entrusted to his right arm less than 24 hours after a blown save in the same spot, with a chance to once again lock down a huge road victory.

“People on the outside don’t really understand what kind of a mental hurdle that is,” said Desmond in regards to Harper’s play in particular. “Whether you run into a wall, or you get caught stealing, whatever it may be, to bounce back from it is a huge mental hurdle. That took some big guts today, a lot of guts from everybody.”

There was, perhaps, some fitting irony that it came down to Marco Scutaro – owner of the longest hitting streak in the Majors this year at 19 games – for the final out. Hitless to that point on Wednesday, Scutaro got a decent piece of Soriano’s 2-2 offering, but the ball came to rest in the leather of Roger Bernadina’s glove, a step onto the left field warning track at AT&T Park, snapping Scutaro’s streak as well as Washington’s four-game slide. For a team that has yet to notch a walk-off win following 12 of them last season, it was as close as the Nationals had come all year to that kind of dramatic, momentum-shifting victory.

“It makes the trip home easier,” said manager Davey Johnson of Wednesday’s result. “This was a good road trip to get through, and I’m glad to be coming home with a win, a tough one.”

And so, a 10-game trip full of trials and tribulations ended on a high note. While the Nationals would have liked to win more than four of those contests, the fourth and final victory may prove to be the most important win of the season so far.

Highlights: 5.22.13

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5.22.13 – Nationals 2, Giants 1 (10 innings)

Stat of the Game: Bryce Harper scored both Washington runs, including the game-winner in the 10th inning. 

Under-the-Radar Performance: Gio Gonzalez held the Giants in check all afternoon, departing in the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead.

It Was Over When: Ian Desmond singled home Harper to break a 1-1 tie in the 10th and lead the Nationals to victory.

What to Watch for: 5.22.13

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Washington Nationals (23-23) vs. San Francisco Giants (26-20)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.01) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 3.09)

Gio Gonzalez takes the hill for Washington as the Nationals aim to end their 10-game west coast swing on a high note. He will be opposed by fellow southpaw Madison Bumgarner, who is coming off his worst outing of the season, having allowed nine runs (seven earned) in 4.1 innings of work in Colorado last Friday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Desmond SS

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Moore LF

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

MIDDLE MEN

The 3-4-5 hitters in Washington’s lineup have hit a combined .315 (52-for-165) with 10 home runs and 33 RBI while pocketing 18 walks and scoring 28 runs in the team’s last 15 games. Those same spots in the order are batting a combined .269 (135-for-501) with 25 HR & 77 RBI for the season.

LONG STREAK OF LONG BALLS

The Nationals have hit at least one home run in 70 consecutive series (none in current series). The last time Washington played a homerless series was during a four-game set at Citi Field, September 12-15, 2011. The Nationals 70-series run is currently the second-longest such streak in MLB (the Rangers have homered in 79 straight series) and the longest streak in DC-baseball history (1901-71, 2005-present). The Nationals, however, still have some work to do to set the franchise mark, as the Expos went deep in 71 consecutive series from April 16, 1998-June 18, 1999).

MID-WEEK WARRIORS

Washington has played its best ball in the middle of the week, going a combined 11-2 on Wednesday-Thursday this season (compared to 12-21 from Friday-Tuesday). The Nationals are 5-2 on Wednesday in 2013.

Highlights: 5.21.13

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5.21.13 – Giants 4, Nationals 2 (10 innings)

Stat of the Game: Stephen Strasburg turned in seven quality innings, allowing a single run while striking out seven. 

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond had a pair of hits, including a two-out, RBI-double in the first inning.

It Was Over When: The Giants ended things in extra innings on a Pablo Sandoval home run.

What to Watch for: 5.21.13

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Washington Nationals (23-22) vs. San Francisco Giants (25-20)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.83) vs. RHP Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43)

Washington sends Stephen Strasburg to the hill against Matt Cain in a battle of Opening Day starters. The Nationals look to bounce back after dropping the series opener, as Strasburg aims to build off his career-long eight-inning stint in San Diego last Thursday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

MERRY STRASMAS

Dating back to his MLB debut (5-2 win vs. Pittsburgh, 6/8/10), Washington is 21-11 when Strasburg starts a game following a loss and 9-6 when he starts a game looking to end a losing streak of two or more (5-4 when attempting to end a losing streak of three or more games). The only other time these two starters faced off, Strasburg (6.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 8 K) outdueled Cain in an 8-1 victory, July 9, 2010 at Nationals Park. Strasburg is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts vs. the Giants.

STARTING BLOCKS

Washington’s starting pitchers have been touched for 11 earned runs in the last two games, after putting together a stretch of nine consecutive starts allowing two or fewer earned runs (1.83 ERA in 59.0 starting innings from May 10-18). For the season, the Nationals starting staff ranks third in MLB/NL with a 3.34 ERA (102 ER/275.0 IP).

KURT HANGS 10

Kurt Suzuki has hit in 10 straight games, matching a career-best hit streak (July 1-12, 2009). During his current streak, which began on May 3, the catcher has batted .303 (10-for-33) with two walks, a double, two runs scored and two RBI.

What to Watch for: 5.20.13

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Washington Nationals (23-21) vs. San Francisco Giants (24-20)

LHP Zach Duke (0-0, 8.40) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-4, 8.06)

The Nationals enter the third and final leg of their 10-game California road trip as they take on the Giants in San Francisco. Washington has won the opening contest of each stop of its road trip so far, 5-2 over Los Angeles last Monday and 5-2 again over San Diego on Thursday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Harper RF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Bernadina LF

8. Solano C

9. Duke LHP

ADAM’S SWEET 16

Adam LaRoche enters tonight’s action riding a 16-game hit streak, his career long and the longest by a Nationals player since Ryan Zimmerman hit in 16 straight from August 26-September 12, 2012. During the stretch, which began on May 2, LaRoche has gone 21-for-55 (.382) with nine walks, wo doubles, four homers, nine runs scored and 12 RBI, posting a .462 OBP & 1.098 OPS. His hit streak, which is the second-longest active streak in MLB (Giants Marco Scutaro, 17 games), has raised his average 100 points after hitting just .129 (11-for-85) in his initial 25 games this season.

KURT HANGS 10

Kurt Suzuki has hit in 10 straight games, matching a career-best hit streak (July 1-12, 2009). During his current streak, which began on May 3, the catcher has batted .303 (10-for-33) with two walks, a double, two runs scored and two RBI.

THE SERIES

The Nationals are 9-4 against the Giants over the last three seasons (‘11-current), including a 5-1 record last season. Washington went 2-1 last year at AT&T Park, marking their first series win in San Francisco since 2006. The AL Nationals and the New York Giants met twice in the World Series (1924, ‘33). Washington won its only World Championship in ‘24 via a 12-inning, 4-3 victory in Game 7. With 4.0 scoreless innings of relief, Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson earned the Game 7 win.

Top 12 of ’12: #11 – Old School Walk-off

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Top1211When the Nationals and Giants matched up in early July in the Nation’s Capital, the series promised to be a stiff test for Washington, facing San Francisco pitchers Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. But after dispatching the first two, handing each their worst loss of the season, the Nationals needed only to beat Cain – who had thrown a perfect game just four starts earlier – to complete the sweep. The teams both donned 1924-era jerseys that night, the fifth of July, in commemoration of the 1924 World Series between Washington and the then-New York Giants, which the Senators had won in dramatic fashion, erasing a late deficit and eventually taking the series in the bottom of the 12th of Game 7.

Cain was in command, as the Giants built a 5-1 advantage entering the bottom of the seventh. But Washington began chipping away, riding back-to-back solo shots from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa and a two-out, RBI-double from Bryce Harper in the seventh to cut the deficit to a single run. The score remained 5-4 until the rookie brigade took over in the ninth, with Tyler Moore doubling, Steve Lombardozzi laying down a sacrifice and reaching on an ensuing error, and Harper coming through again with an RBI-single to tie it up. After an intentional walk and a force at home, Adam LaRoche batted with the bases loaded and one out. He chopped a ball towards the hole at second, where Ryan Theriot fielded the ball and threw to second base for the force out. Brandon Crawford tried to relay the ball to first base to complete the double play, but his throw short-hopped Brandon Belt at first and got away, as Harper crossed the plate with the winning run. Just like 1924, Washington had come from behind for a thrilling, walk-off win.

Moment #12 – Ramos Flies

2012 Player Review: Roger Bernadina

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The Washington Nationals enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012, recording the best record in Major League Baseball. The team relied on the contributions of many different players, whom we will catalogue throughout the offseason as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign. We begin the list with everyone’s favorite selachimorph, Roger “The Shark” Bernadina.

The Curacao-born outfielder played in parts of four seasons for the Nationals before 2012, compiling a slash line of .242/.304/.364 in just under 900 plate appearances. His athleticism and flashes of superior defense gave fans hope that he might progress into a steady Major Leaguer, an evolution that finally took form this season. Bernadina posted the best all-around numbers of his career, hitting .291/.372/.405 with 11 doubles and five home runs in just 261 plate appearances. A midseason switch to a lighter bat helped him go on a 41-game tear over which he batted .395 (32-for-81) from June 28-August 17, raising his average by 73 points.

However, he was at his best during the crucial four-game home set with Atlanta in mid-July (over which he went 8-for-13) and on the team’s season-long 10-game road trip in early August, where he turned in a four-hit game in San Francisco and this season-defining catch to win a game in Houston.

With his tremendous speed and range in the outfield, Bernadina offered the Nationals a versatile option as a left-handed pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, or defensive replacement off the bench this year. He will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2013, but remains under team control through the 2016 season.

Shark fans out there may not have to wait until Spring to see Bernadina play, as he is rumored to be taking part in the World Baseball Classic as part of Team Netherlands, the country that stakes ownership to the Antilles islands, including Curacao.

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